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Kevin Roche, one of the last of great modern architects who had learned first hand from the masters such as Saarinen and Mies died in March of this year. He was 96. Just about six years ago I had the pleasure of a meeting with Roche and spend half a day with him in discussion about his last big project, Capitol Crossing in Washington DC which is scheduled to be completed this year. Capitol Crossing is a 2.2 million square foot mixed use development occupying 6.8 acres of air rights above Interstate 395 in Washington, D.C. It is the largest air rights project that has ever been undertaken in Washington. I was so impressed by my encounter with the legendary architect that I wrote the below article within the same week. On the occasion of Roche's passing I repeat the April 2013 article below:
New Haven, or more precisely, neighboring Hamden is the home of Kevin Roche, a living legend of modern architecture. Pritzker, AIA Gold medal, there is hardly a prize that hasn't been bestowed on him. Roche, a successor of Eero Saarinen, has been running his firm, Kevin Roche, John Dinkeloo Associates (KRJDA) in New Haven since 1962. He gave the town some of its more controversial structures. One, the Coliseum, has already been demolished; the Knights of Columbus building stands, a stark reminder of Roche's boldness. His office, though, is located out of town in a bucolic park, in a historic structure aspiring to be English. Now 90 years old, is Roche a monument of an unloved past, or is he still a relevant architect? New Haven hardly qualifies as a quaint or pretty American city. Even though it is the home of Yale, with its world famous architecture department and a series of modernist architectural monuments, one hardly finds accolades praising New Haven's urban design.On a grey December morning, I.... Read FULL ARTICLE